Manufacturer: Theraflex (View all products by Theraflex)
Model: English Saddle Pad System (View all English Saddle Pad System reviews)
Category: English Saddle Fittings/Pads
Purchase: Purchased from one of Pat Parelli's family members for a steal, since she no longer rides English. They are available for about $300 for Savvy Club members at www.parelli.com and several varied and custom styles are available directly from the manufacturer at www.ridinghighllc.com
Likes: This is an awesome saddle pad. I was intrigued by the concept of adjustable "air suspension" in a saddle pad, along with the ability to improve saddle fit with this and the use of available Theraflex shims. It's not all hype... This saddle pad is liberating to a horse's back. I've had an Irish Warmblood in dressage training who had lost a significant amount of muscle on his topline from two years off. Bringing him back into shape was a difficult task. Conventional wisdom would have pointed towards putting this horse in a narrower treed saddle to keep the saddle from riding on his wither, but a tree narrow enough to do this restricted his movement in the shoulder... He had muscle wastage, but was still a broad horse. The theraflex pad with shims allowed me to use a wider tree on him and to fill in the spots where the muscle was lacking. So his spine was completely clear and his shoulders were free. This created a HUGE difference in the horse immediately. He was willing to stretch down into the bit and use his back rather than fighting to protect himself. In reality, soooo few saddles fit the horse as well as they should to optimize comfort and performance. Horses come in all shapes and sizes, and yet there are so few choices in saddle sizes. The Theraflex is a pricey pad, but it helps to optimize saddle fit on every horse.
Dislikes: It is cost prohibitive. Not many people are willing to drop 3 bills on a saddle pad. But it IS worth it. If you do things right, it can keep you from having to use three different saddles for three different horses. This pad saved me from having to buy an additional dressage saddle, so even if I had paid full price, it would have been worth it. So no complaints.
Quality: The quality is EXCELLENT! No slip exterior that is breathable for the horse. Hair and dirt rinses off very easily. I actually had a hard time finding where the pad opens up to put the shims in because the seams are so well constructed and the installation of the velcro closures is undetectable.
Summary: A VERY worthwhile purchase. I could make a scrap heap out of all the different gel pads, wedge pads, sheepskin pads, wither relief pads, and therapeutic pads I've bought over the years hoping to find something that would work half as well as the Theraflex. I can't see how anyone could possibly be disappointed with this. Might be why they are nearly impossible to find used.
Usefulness Rating: 2.6 out of 5.
15 reader(s) voted.
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